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Behringer ADA8200 Ultragain converter

Test & Review

To complete the equipment in your home studio, you want to acquire an analog-to-digital signal converter and vice versa. In this case, the Ultragain digital ADA8200 from the Behringer brand may be suitable for you. This is a microphone preamplifier with an analog digital (D/A) and digital analog (A/D) converter. Many audiophiles particularly appreciate it for the precision and quality of sound it provides. To find out more about the ADA8200, discover the results of the test we carried out on it in this guide.

Behringer ADA8200 Ultragain

🎤 by Kevin Jung

Summary of the Test 👇

Marketed for several years, the Ultragain ADA8200 from Behringer is an analog digitaldigital analog equipped with an ADAT (Alesis Digital Audio Tape) interface. It should not be confused with an external sound card. Behringer 's best-selling products , from which it inherits many aspects, notably with appearance and functionality. About ADA8000, compared to other products of the same category, it must be said that it does not occupy the first rank in terms of quality and technical specifications.

However, it has won over a large number of users with its great practicality and profitability. It is for these reasons that Behringer decided to revisit this flagship product more than 10 years after its release. improvements have been made , particularly in terms of quality and technologies in order to best meet user expectations. Which leads to the design of the ADA8200.

Behringer ADA8200 Ultragain
Picture from Audiofanzine.com

Behringer ADA8200 Ultragain Converter Overview

The Behringer ADA8200 Ultragain has a lot of similarities with its predecessor ADA8000 . If we put the two converters side by side, we can barely tell them apart. The ADA8200 stands out with the satin red color that can be seen on its front panel and on the top.

The gain potentiometers have a somewhat particular shape and no longer have notches as is the case with the ADA8000. Otherwise, all connectors and controls on the front and rear are similar on both models.

To differentiate the two devices, you have to look under the hood. The first thing you notice is that the ADA8200 is equipped with a universal switching power supply . This allows the device to heat up less when powered or in use. This type of power supply has the advantage of being able to operate with a voltage between 100 volts and 240 volts and allows a reduction in energy consumption from 25 Watts to 15 Watts .

This is a significant improvement considering the linear power supply on the older model had a tendency to overheat. Additionally, the ADA8200 is significantly lighter and more balanced compared to its predecessor. The latter is equipped with a toroidal mains transformer making it heavier.

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Behringer ADA8200 Ultragain

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As for the phantom power switch button, it has not changed place. It is found on the right side of the front panel. The lit green LED indicates that the phantom is inactive and the lit red LED means that it is active.

During the test, we noted a voltage of the phantom at 46.5 Volts whereas we should normally obtain 48 Volts . However, it is tolerable since there was no significant drop, even though we plugged condenser microphones into all 8 inputs of the device.

Still on the front, above the phantom power switch button, there is a slide switch that can be set to 4 different positions. It allows you to choose the synchronization mode .

The SYNC MASTER LED lights orange when the ADA8200 is configured as a MASTER clock source and providing the sync signal to other external digital audio devices. Using the slide switch, you must choose the appropriate sampling rate between two options: 44.1 kHz or 48 kHz . Therefore, the clock signal from the ADA8200 is only displayed on the ADAT OUT .

The SYNC LOCKED LED lights green when the ADA 8200 is configured to synchronize to an external clock . In this case, you must select “ WC IN” or “ ADAT IN ” depending on the clock source chosen.

Behringer ADA8200 Ultragain
Picture from Worthpoint.com

Midas mic preamps to optimize sound quality

To appeal to audiophiles and sound recording professionals, Behringer is banking on the MIDAS- made incorporated in the ADA8200. For your information, MIDAS is a famous mixing console . One of its greatest achievements is the XL4 analog console .

The ADA8200 has 8 XLR and TRS (Jack) inputs. XLR jacks allow you to collect signals from the microphones. TRS jacks , they serve as a balanced line input . Note that phantom power can only be activated on the XLR input.

The signal from the line input is attenuated before reaching the mic preamp. During the test, we noted an impedance of 2 kOhms on the microphone inputs and 18 kOhms for the line inputs. However, it is stated in the user manual that they should be 2.7 KOhms and 20 kOhms .

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Behringer ADA8200 Ultragain

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Each channel is associated with two LEDs (red and green) placed above the XLR socket . They indicate the level of the output signal. Green lights up when the level reaches -40 dBFS or more. Red indicates a signal level that is too high (clip), i.e. an output level exceeding -3 dBFS . To have good audio quality , or at least to the tolerable limit, you should adjust the volume of the sources so that the red LED never lights up. Mixing in the red should be avoided at all costs.

Gain range with a few more decibels compared to the old model: from +10 dB to +60 dB

The downside with the gain potentiometers on the front panel is that there are no markings to know the level. It says in the user manual that the nominal range is +10 dB to +60 dB for microphone inputs and -5 dB to +40 dB for line inputs.

The test bench allowed us to obtain slightly lower values: +3 dB to +56 dB for the microphone inputs and -16 dB to +36 dB for the line inputs. But what minimum and maximum signal levels can we actually obtain?

The maximum tolerated signal level, i.e. producing 0 dBFS at the ADAT output, is approximately +12dBu for the mic input and +31 dBu for the line input. The ADA8200 has a few more decibels compared to the ADA8000.

Behringer ADA8200 Ultragain professional converter
Picture from Amazona.de

As for the maximum tolerable levels, if we seek to obtain an average signal of approximately -15 dBFS , the signal at the microphone input must be at least -56 dBu (and -37 dBu at the line input). A dynamic studio microphone with a sensitivity of 2 mV/Pa generates -56 dBu if placed near a source providing 90 dB SPL .

This is the case when you plug a Shure SM 57 into the ADA8200 and place it in front of a guitar backline . We can also obtain -56 dBu by placing a condenser microphone at 16 mV/pa sensitivity in front of a source producing 78 dB SPL .

A typical example is the use of an AKG C414 XLS microphone with the ADA8200 for a speaking session. On the rear of the ADA8200 are analog XLR output 0dBFS ADAT input routed to all line outputs providing +16dBu to each. This is below the standard. A reference signal at -18 dBFS generates -2 dBu at the analog output, i.e. between 2 dB and 6 Db less than with most converters of the same category.

Therefore, if you want to connect external equipment to the ADA8200 with a line level of + 0 dBu on the analog inputs and outputs, you should position the gain potentiometer at the 11 o'clock position (if the 'we refer to a watch). The input/output (I/O) level would then be around -16 dBFS .

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Behringer ADA8200 Ultragain

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Zoom on the sound quality of the Behringer ADA8200 Ultragain converter

The ADA8200 is equipped with much better quality converters as well as microphone preamplifiers manufactured by the famous Midas company. A whole series of test benches allowed it to have many improved specifications compared to the ADA8000. The improvements are certainly significant, but they are not spectacular.

We set the unity gain level to +4dBu in order to test the analog line input and output as well as the associated ADAT ports. We noted a harmonic distortion rate ( THD+N ) of -96dB , or 0.0015% . The ADA8200 is 3 dB better than its predecessor. The THD+N is advantageously lower over the entire bandwidth, and more particularly over the treble.

We recorded a noise floor around -83 dBu , which gives a dynamic range that extends to 98 dB . We noticed that the gain is distributed linearly over the entire range of the control potentiometer. There are very few groupings.

Behringer ADA8200 Ultragain converter test
Picture from Gearank.com

In addition, the ADA8200 is equipped with various converters, the new ones of which are designed by Cirrus . With a sampling frequency of 44,100 Hz , we noted a relatively low latency, of the order of only 0.55 ms 1.46 ms with the ADA8000.

Berhinger has also made other significant improvements, notably in frequency response. Although the low frequencies have inherited the same attenuations as on the old model ( -3 dB at 6 Hz ), we observe less amplitude ripples with the high frequencies, especially at the cutoff frequency .

However, we note a small downside manifested by a minor HF droop ( -1 dB at 20 kHz ), but which ultimately makes the tone more pleasant to hear and softer.

Another quality highlight of the ADA8200 converters is the AES17 dynamic range figure . In our tests, we obtained 103 dB A-wtd for the analog to digital stage, and 104.5 dB A-wtd for digital to analog. These figures are below those obtained on the best mid-range converters where we obtain between 110 dB and 115 dB . The best ones provide between 115 dB and 120 dB .

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Behringer ADA8200 Ultragain

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By the way, you can also check out our complete review guide for the AMS Neve 4081 . Discover in this guide the functionalities, construction quality, sound quality, technical characteristics, and operation of the AMS Neve 4081 with the optional digital card.

Technical characteristics of the Behringer ADA8200 Ultragain converter

MIC INPUTS

  • Type: Electronically balanced XLR, discrete input stage
  • Amplification range: between +10 dB and +60 dB
  • Max Input Level: +6 dBu to +10 dB and Gain at 0 dBFS
  • Impedance: approximately 2 kOhms symmetrical
  • Phantom power: +48 V, disengageable

LINE INPUTS

  • Type: electronically balanced stereo jack, discrete input stage
  • Impedance: approximately 20 kOhms balanced, approximately 10 kOhms unbalanced
  • Amplification range: Between -10 to and 40 dB
  • Max Input Level: +26 dBu to -10 dB Gain at 0 dBFS
Behringer ADA8200 Ultragain
Picture from Audiofanzine.com

LINE OUTPUTS

  • Type: Electronically balanced XLR
  • Impedance: approximately 500 Ohms balanced, approximately 250 Ohms unbalanced
  • Max output level: +16 dBu @ 0 DBFS

DIGITAL INPUT

  • Type: TOSLINK, optical link
  • Format: ADAT, 8 channels, 24 bits at 44.1 kHz/48 kHz

DIGITAL OUTPUT

  • Type: TOSLINK, optical link ADAT format, 8 channels, 24 bits @ 44.1 kHz/48 kHz

Analogue/digital converter

  • Type: ALESIS, 24-bit, 64x oversampling, Delta-Sigma
  • Dynamic range: analog input to digital output, approximately 103 dB

DIGITAL/ANALOG CONVERTER

  • ALESIS type, 24 bits, 128 x oversampling, Delta-Sigma
  • Dynamic range: digital input to analog output, approximately 100 dB

SYNCHRONIZATION

  • Source: internal 44.1 kHz, internal 48 kHz, ADAT input, Wordclock input
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Behringer ADA8200 Ultragain

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WORDBLOCK INPUT

  • Type: BNC, 1 x sample rates
  • Input level: 2 to 6 V peak to peak
  • Bandwidth: 44.1 khz to 48 kHz

SYSTEM FEATURE

  • Bandwidth: 10 Hz to 21 kHz @ 48 kHz sampling frequency
  • THD < 0.01%
  • Crosstalk < -86 dB

POWER SUPPLY

  • Mains voltage:
  • USA/Canada: 120 V~, 60 Hz
  • Europe/UK/Australia: 230 V~, 50 Hz
  • Japan: 100 V~, 50 – 60 Hz
  • General export model: 120/230 V~, 50 – 60 Hz
  • Consumption: 25 W
  • Fuse: 100 – 120 V ~: T 630 mA h / 200 – 240 V ~: T 315 mA h
  • Connection: standard IEC socket

DIMENSION

  • (H x W x D): approximately 215 x 44.5 x 482.6 mm
  • Weight: approximately 2.59 kg
  • Transport Weight: approximately 3.09 kg
Behringer ADA8200 Ultragain packaging
Picture from Worthpoint.com
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Our Overall Opinion

Overall Sound Quality

4,6 /5
4.6/5

Value for money

4,4 /5
4.4/5

Global mark

4,5 /5
4.5/5

Our opinion on the Behringer ADA8200 Ultragain converter

Between the ADA8200 and its predecessor there is little difference. They have exactly the same inputs and outputs, the same controls, the same features and the same limitations. Behringer has certainly made significant improvements in the technical specifications, notably by integrating MIDAS preamps, but they are considered minor compared to the expectations of the audiophile and the analog mixing professional.

However, the firm has resolved the issues seen on the ADA8000 regarding ADAT attenuation and synchronization. Gain pots provide finer, more linear control with little clustering. We particularly like the quality of the conversion which is relatively smoother and cleaner. The mic preamp on each channel is more neutral and quiet.

In short, the ADA8200 is an interesting ADAT audio interface for its practicality, ease of use and its quality/price ratio which allows significant profitability. Better than its predecessor, the ADA8200 has every chance of becoming the most marketed product of the Behringer brand.

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Behringer ADA8200 Ultragain

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